Air Force officer who vanished in 1983 is found in California

12 Juin, 2018, 04:57 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Ex-Kirtland AFB officer missing since 1983 found

Before this week's apprehension, Hughes was last seen withdrawing more than $28,000 in Albuquerque from various bank locations in the summer of 1983 after returning from a two-week vacation in Europe.

In a news release, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) said the Department of State was investigating a man named "Barry O'Beirne" in connection to a passport fraud inquiry.

Hughes, now 66, was taken into custody reportedly told investigators that he was "depressed" in the service and created a fake identity to start a new life. The Air Force declared Hughes a deserter in December 1998.

Desertion carries maximum penalties of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and confinement of five years.

Hughes, a captain at Kirtland Air Force Base, was 33 when he vanished. He had top secret clearance.

At the time of his disappearance, the 31-year-old office had top secret security clearance, working on "classified planning and analysis of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation command, control and communications surveillance systems", U.S. military journal Stars and Stripes reports.

He had just returned from a temporary assignment in The Netherlands, where he worked with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officers on the Airborne Warning and Control electronic surveillance aircraft.

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However, Linda Card, a spokeswoman for the air force office of special investigations, told the Albuquerque Journal that investigators now see "no indication that he had any classified information or that he gave any classified information".

"Until we have the whole story, we don't have the story", she told the newspaper.

In the years after Hughes went missing, a slew of NASA catastrophes, such as the space shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986, as well as the explosion of the Ariane rocket in French Guinea, caused national security commentators to speculate whether the disasters were related and possibly the result of Soviet sabotage.

What were some of theories of why he disappeared? "We do not feel he disappeared voluntarily", his sister, Christine Hughes, said. Also, a raid of his home in 1900 block of Chandelle Loop in Albuquerque revealed to-do lists and books he planned to read upon his return.

His family did not appear to know about his disappearance with the Albuquerque Journal reporting that his sisters said at the time that they thought he might have been abducted. "Among his responsibilities was the training of range officers in charge of destroying rockets malfunctioning after launch".

"He is worth his weight in gold to the Russians in terms of future 'Star Wars, ' if we have them", the LA Times quoted an intelligence officer as saying. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries.

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